Words: Linn Branson
Rather like The X Factor, colds and train strikes, the inevitable Christmas tune rears its multiple heads each December. While some, such as Nat King Cole's 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)', The Pogues' 'Fairytale Of New York', and Bing's 'I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas' are always certain to raise festive cheer, who wouldn't cheerfully strangle the next person who insists on murdering Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody'.
Now it's practically a given that the great and the good will turn out their own little Yule croon each year. If you have not been feeling the spirit much this season, get yourself a glass of mulled wine and a nice mince pie, and settle in for 2016's Christmas delights.
GLASS ANIMALS - WINTER WONDERLAND
Getting into the spirit were Glass Animals when they appeared on Huw Stephens’ show on BBC Radio 1 recently to play one of his Piano Sessions. Here performing a cover of the classic ‘Winter Wonderland.’
RORY WYNNE - IT'S A SHAME ALL CHRISTMAS SONGS ARE CHEESY, WRITING ONE IS QUITE EASY
You may have heard this one before by our favourite Stockport teen, 16-year-old Rory Wynne, but now - like 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' - it Is recycled round again via Skeleton Key Records and released last week. In fact, despite it being around for a couple of Yules now - as he first uploaded it back in 2013 - it's a hellishly catchy little number that rocks out at a pace, with some humorous lyrics and spiky guitar riffs. Definitely one to get you up on your feet and jingling those bells.
THE CROOKES - YOU BRING THE SNOW
The Sheffield lads bring in the festive reminiscences, as well as a bit of the white stuff. “The innocence and excitement of Christmas when you’re young is something far more magical than when you’re in your twenties,” says guitarist Daniel Hopewell. "One of my favourite Christmas songs ever is Low’s ‘Just Like Christmas’. It has this amazing line in that goes 'the beds were small but we felt so young.' That line has always got me."
LOW - SOME HEARTS (AT CHRISTMAS TIME)
And talking of Low, the Minnesota slowcore trio get reflective on ‘Some Hearts (At Christmas Time)’, filled with twinkly synths and guitar and Mimi Parker’s vocals. The band's accompanying message reads: “To friends who have moved away and friends who have passed on this year. To one and all, especially those who are alone, we wish you a Merry Christmas and new hope for the new year. May we all find ways to lift each other. With Love, Mimi, Alan and Steve.”
KISSING PARTY - MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING (MAYBE NEXT YEAR THINGS WILL CHANGE)
Denver "slop pop" kids Kissing Party are going full out with a whole Christmas album, 'Winter in the Pub' - "Christmas carols for the crippled inside" - and this little number is another that has seen Christmases past, being originally released in 2014.
WHISSELL - ALL I EVER GET FOR CHRISTMAS IS BLUE
Nashville-based singer Whissell, 27-year-old Florida native Lauren Whistle, released her debut single, 'Get Free' last year and prior to her debut EP, 'Old Souls, Young Bodies' out on January 27, drops this festive number. Low-key and soulful, it's a woeful number, given a jazz feel with keys and sultry vocal.
BIG TOP HEARTBREAK - CHRISTMAS IN THE ASYLUM
Out December 16 from Bristol-based singer-songwriter Scott Lavene. Part fiction, part biographical, this rum downcast tale will leave you both smiling, yet with a certain sorrow that not everyone has a 'happy' Christmas.
NIGHT FLOWERS - CHRISTMAS EVE
The London indie-dreampop five-piece have released this ‘pay what you like’ double Christmas charity single, ‘To Rest/Christmas Eve’, with proceeds going to MIND and Teenage Cancer Trust jointly. Recorded by the band in their living room on an 8-track, ‘Christmas Eve’ will put you in the mood with bells and jingles, and Sophia Pettit’s angelic vocals providing the top of the tree adornment.
BILLIE MARTEN - WHITE CHRISTMAS
Out this week, 17-year-old Yorkshire lass Billie Marten covers the Christmas classic, adding melodic guitar to this rather sorrowful rendition of the old favourite.
THE LUMINEERS - BLUE CHRISTMAS
The Colorado trio rework the Elvis Presley festive classic. Wesley Schultz delivers a down-tempo, melancholy vocal on the stripped back version.
MARIKA HACKMAN - DRIVING UNDER STARS
From her just released Christmas EP 'Wonderland', sleigh bells ring out over the mellow soundscape.
LAST LETTERS - I DON'T WANT ANY COAL
Pop-punk Yule variant via the solo project of Bostonian Charles Iwuc, aka Last Letters, with a lyrical 'letter' to the adult's Santa.